Final disembarkation

Well! I did it! 26 day cruise. Arrived in Hong Kong. Can’t tell you how happy I am to get off the ship! But it is a real mixture of emotions. The ship becomes your home for the time you are on it. You exist in this little bubble of life travelling between countries, climates and time zones on its own little adventure with little worry of anything else happening in the world.

It has by no means been a bad experience but it has definitely been very interesting from my own standing. Certainly the last two nights Onboard the ship were horrible as we were in particularly bad weather. A shame really to have ended it in that way. Wind howling, rain intermittent and large swell meant I didn’t sleep particularly well at all. In fact on both of the last nights I was woken by the weather at around 3am where I then got up and dressed and left our cabin to wander around the ship in order to feel some kind of sense of normality. It probably did the opposite though. There was no one around but all the lights were on. The huge vessel moving quite significantly from side to side. My only guess is that this older generation Onboard are so well weathered by life at sea (pardon the pun) that they have the amazing ability to just sleep right through it. This is certainly the case for mum anyway. So this weird ghost ship like existence of the ship at 3am fascinated me.

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Write Drunk. Edit Sober

That’s what Ernest Hemingway said.


So that’s what I did. Here is an edited version of some ramblings and writings I did a while back whilst slightly inebriated; enjoy:


Yesterday I was reading a book that inspired me to think about self discipline. Essentially I think we all find it easy to slip into habitual situations that are perhaps not progressive to our characters, but so easy to inhabit.


At my old job I found it more alluring to come home, slouch on the couch, watch a movie, have a glass of wine and stay up late. It’s like ‘my time’ and the rest of my day felt like it had been someone else’s. This led me to feel frustrated that I didn’t have ‘my time’ throughout the day itself. Like annoyed that I had to do work for someone else. I obviously realised i was getting paid well and felt an immediate sense of guilt when I got angry at my situation. Like angry at working, using my precious time here on planet earth to fulfil someone else’s dreams and ambitions. And i felt guilty because i should be ecstatic that i had a good job in the economic climate we were in, and i certainly shouldn’t have been complaining. I don’t know about you, and I guess it kind of depends what you do for a living, but I don’t think I got masses of self worth from the job I was doing. A fantastic job in terms of it being a great experience in managing people, and managing myself within the constructs of the company, and sales techniques and social sales skills etc. but in terms of liberating, progressing and feeling good about myself; this was never at the magnitude at which it could have been. I felt like if a meteor came and dropped on my old job, and indeed its industry, and the whole thing was destroyed. The world would still spin.


I struggled to believe I was contributing to the world in a positive way. Because it wasn’t touching people’s lives in the way I wanted it to. I wasn’t able to help people in the way I wanted. It seemed epically superficial as an industry. A justification to our western society of gimmicks, fake, branding, power, money and trend. May I add that I really don’t want you to feel like I am belittling or chastising the people or habits of the people with whom I worked closely with. None of this should be taken personally. It is merely a reflection of the bigger society and industries within our world that to me feel ephemeral, transitional and not necessarily revolutionary to the growth of humanity.


However on the flip side of this, and after reading this book I started off talking about… I came to realise that actually yes; I am contributing to society, to humanity, to my environment, and that pretty much all my self worth at that time was centered around my job. My self discipline was not something that was determined by my job. It was and remains to this day entirely up to me how i construct my time and create my own self gratification.


My dad once told me that men get their self worth from the job they are in, and how successful they are, and in turn women get their self worth from their men. So if the man that you are with is not happy with his success or situation it does perhaps dent, affect and stem questioning of your own self worth. I don’t think that it is quite as literal as this anymore. I think in my generation and with regards to our evolutionary advances specifically to do with women in the workplace; I think it is quite common now for single women and even those in a relationship, to get kicks from the job they are in and to establish their own self worth. Never the less, there is definitely something to be said on the thriving of a relationship between a man and a woman based on the mans success and self worth.


The book started to talk about self gratification. And delaying self gratification. All linked with personal disciplines. An example it gives; a person works a 9-5 job. 2 hours of that job they really enjoy and the rest is mundane and a struggle to push through. As people we tend to want the best thing first. That person arrived at their job and spent the first two hours of their day doing what they enjoyed and feeling happy. The rest of the day dragged and sufficiently lowered the persons attitude and mood for the rest of that time, leaving them tired, fed up and not empowered by the end of their working day. Of course I realise that perhaps a lot of you are good at delaying self gratification. However it is something I have always struggled with. Like, why do today what you can do tomorrow. This concept mounds up in my head until I have a to do list as long as my arm and I actually feel miserable at the concept of attacking that list and getting round to things that actually have to be done.


If that person had arrived at work and then done their mundane hours first and foremost and then had the last two hours of their day to do what they loved and what made them happy and inspired, then perhaps the rest of their day would end on a high. They would be motivated to continue with this method of delaying self gratification throughout the rest of their evening. In my case I found it so easy to come home from work, make a cup of tea, sit in front of some latest tv series and just zone out. Completely putting off things that I actually need to do in order to superficially satisfy myself and that time. When in actuality, all that did was apply more stress and discomfort as the mountain of actual things I had to get done grew up all around me.


I think delaying self gratification is all well and good in theory. But much harder to do in reality. There are so many things we put off; correspondence with friends, seeing friends, washing, ironing, exercise, homework, paperwork, finances etc in order to make ourselves feel temporarily better. When in fact if we had delayed self gratification from the moment we awoke, then perhaps there is no end to what we can achieve in a day. We take each day for granted so much. But it is so precious, and each day should be treated like the next is in question. A bit of a cliche, and a sobering and scary thought. But I think if we could all do the things we need to do before doing the things we want to do then the evolution of humanity would become this ridiculously empowering progressive thing.


To summarise with regard to my previous job. I always have struggled with what direction I am supposed to take. On one side of me I am pretty logical and I realise and want success within my chosen profession/career. I realise that having been on the first rung of the ladder, I could most likely successfully keep climbing up the corporate ladder until I was on some crazy salary, but living a lifestyle in which I have become accustomed because of my incredibly fortunate upbringing.

On the other side of me I want to see the world, help people, meet people, engage with people, talk with people, philosophise with people and work on projects that not only make me happy but genuinely affect and change people’s lives, specifically those lives that have been less fortunate than my own. It’s almost like a sense of guilt for the relative ease in which I grew up with a loving family and was provided for with no bother or real hardship.


So after 2 and a half years in my old job, as much as from time to time it may have been liberating and interesting, and lessons were learnt; I think the overall thing I learnt was that I’m not quite so interested in the corporate ladder anymore. It was great feeling comfortable in my job and with money, but it really didn’t necessarily build upon this drive and need within me to embrace the whole world and its people and to give something back to this beautiful earth that bought me into existence.

New York, New York!

So we did quite a lot in this one day. So I’m continuing this blog from the last one just to break it up a little…to be honest it’s amazing what you can do in a short amount of time when you know that that time is all you have. If only we could all live by this philosophy everyday. Like if everyday we chose to be tourists I reckon there is no end to what we could discover and achieve. Unfortunately when you get into a routine it’s far too easy to just let time slip you by and not make the most of it. I’m promising myself here and now to constantly be a tourist. Even in my home town. I think every day deserves to be a story.


Anyways…. After sunning ourselves in Central Park for quite some time we then made our way to the subway where we took a ride down to ground zero. Here we feasted on some luncheon that overlooked the ‘occupy’ people of downtown New York, and they had situated themselves pretty much directly by the world trade centres.


We then went through a small queue to get into the 9/11 memorial at ground zero. Obviously you don’t have to pay to get in. But if you want a 9/11 wrist band you need to donate at least $10 to get one. I wasn’t sure how I felt about this. I mean as some kind of subtle money maker it works, and goodness only knows how much it is costing to keep the two massive waterfall memorial fountains going. But compared to the other times I visited ground zero, this put me slightly on edge.


So the first time I visited was in 2004. At this point ground zero was very very quiet. People walked around the site, (still full of debris) and read the billboards that gave information about the 9/11 incidents. It was really quite a moving experience. I mean; I never saw the twin towers when they were standing, but I have watched movies where they feature, and sit coms etc. so in a way I grew up watching them pop up here and there. And of course I watched 9/11 happen pretty much live on the tv screen at home. So even though I had never seen them stand tall, I still felt moved by the whole experience. It made what had appeared on tv come to life I guess. I’m sure most of you watched the twin towers falling and can remember where you were and what you were doing. But I guess the whole thing seemed a little unbelievable. We’ve become so desensitised to horrors like this going on in our world because of the amazing things that movies and special affects can create on our screens. And often we are so far removed from these seemingly other worldly happenings that it is very difficult to relate to an experience that you’ve never really had.


Anyhow the point I’m making…. Right. So the second time I went, there was progress, there was still rubble, a lot of building work etc, but new buildings had started being erected and in general it was a hub of activity. Still however there was relative silence. A profound respect for the loss of lives and ability to deeply reflect on the goings on at that place some 7 years ago at the time.


This time however was weird. As soon as I got into the area I wanted to get out. There were tourists everywhere. Outside the entrance men were lined up selling memorabilia, there was no silence, and it felt really wrong. The waterfall fountains were incredible. Don’t get me wrong. And what they’ve done to create a memorial site is absolutely incredible, and beautiful. And it should end up being (hopefully) a wonderful memorial space for anyone to come to sit, reflect and pay their respects. But I couldn’t help feeling what the family members of those that perished in the events of 9/11 would be thinking if they were there now. I don’t want to be too cynical about the donations situation, but I was uneasy about it. Nevertheless, I gave my $10 and received my souvenir wrist band…. The whole thing was weird. But in retrospect I’m glad we went. And its just fascinating that every time is different and will evoke different thoughts and feelings. I guess in summary; I was overwhelmed by what they had achieved there. It is indeed incredible. And with the new world trade building still being built it will be great to go back again in a few years and see its progress. I just hope the true meaning of why the memorial was constructed in the first place doesn’t get lost behind the swarms of tourists, the to-be constructed museum and the heaps of tacky memorabilia for sale around the area, and that the inevitability of people trying to maximise off the back of this tragedy doesn’t taint the perception of the original vision.



After the literal 10 minutes we spent at the memorial we walked down to battery park where the idea s to get a boat out to Ellis island to the museum there. Unfortunately it was closed, which is quite sad as it’s the one thing I’ve never done in New York City (amongst many I’m sure!) and really wanted to. By this point though we were shattered and so we headed back to the tube station to go back to our hotel to freshen up before disappearing out for dinner and night time in NYC.


A short walk around the corner from our hotel and we were in Times Square. Another hub of tourist activity! For the sake of nostalgia mum and I went to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner. We had been there 5 years ago when we were last here together. Nothing had really changed much in 5 years in Times Square. The lights still blazed over the street, people on the street still tried to sell us tickets for comedy shows and musicals, music burst out of every venue, the Golden Arches of McDonald’s still had a gigantic queue of people inside and the naked cowboy still patrolled the sidewalk singing and shouting at everyone he came across.

I think after dinner we were so unbelievably tired that I couldn’t have stayed out if I tried. Beside I also had an extremely strong cocktail wi my dinner and with the heat and how long I’d been awake for I literally stumbled back to the hotel with mum where we practically just fell into bed.

Tomorrow we pick up a rental car and start our road trip to Chicago. First stop Rhode Island…